Wil...and the meaning of life
Wil Anderson is going to Perth with his Wilarious show. Picture: Supplied.

Wil Anderson prefers to take a philosophical approach when it comes to cracking jokes. A comedy veteran at the ripe old age of 38 (he began in the business at 21), the award-winning stand-up comedian, Triple J announcer and host of ABC's The Gruen Transfer says for him comedy is about the pursuit of knowing oneself better.

"I am interested in what comedy can teach me about myself," Anderson explains from London while touring his new stand-up show Wilarious.

"We are so quick to criticise others and we are allowed to be critical, but so often we do it with a lack of self-awareness.

"If you are going to make fun of other people then you have to start with making fun of yourself.

"I am the butt of all my jokes, even when I am making fun of someone else what I am really making fun of is my attitude to them.

"That's what I find interesting about comedy - it's a job where I can spend my life having a nine-month conversation with myself about what I think of the world."

With more than 16 separate stand-up shows under his belt over the years, Anderson attributes his evolution as a performer to a quest for the meaning of life.

"I dedicate an hour of every day to talking about what I think the meaning of life is, how I am struggling through my life, what I am doing well and not so well," he says.

Anderson adds that his years of experience had allowed him to be more honest with his work.

"You start out trying to please a lot of people and I think after a while you realise that comedy is a very subjective thing," he says. "One person's The Office is another's Two and a Half Men, it doesn't mean that one is right and the other is wrong.

"What you've got to do is the stuff you find interesting and then try to find an audience, not the other way around."

Despite having been nominated for a Gold Logie in 2010 for his work on The Gruen Transfer, Anderson isn't concerned with becoming more famous than he already is.

The comedian has spent the past two years working the stand-up circuit in Los Angeles and other US cities and has appeared as a regular on late night talk show Chelsea Lately with comedienne Chelsea Handler.

In between he has been delivering free monthly podcasts, and before his US pursuits he released two books and a DVD.

But Anderson says he doesn't have plans for world domination.

"Ambition can be a train you don't get off and people can sometimes get stuck in it," he says.

"At the end of the day you are the one who has the power. You don't have to be king of the world because people say you have to be.

"I don't really have any grand aims because I am very happy with my life. You don't have to keep getting more and more successful. Sometimes you do just have to take a moment and say 'I am happy'."

Next month the comedian will bring Wilarious to Perth, following his visit last year with the critically acclaimed Man vs Wil.

He now has his pre-show preparation down to a fine art, which enables him to come up with new material for each new tour.

"The secret to the show is not jokes, it's not trying to think of something funny," Anderson says. "The secret of the show is 'What can I talk about for nine months that I will be as interested in discussing on the first night as I will be on the last night?'."

"You start out trying to please a lot of people and I think after a while you realise that comedy is a very subjective thing. One person's The Office is another's Two and a Half Men, it doesn't mean that one is right and the other is wrong." <div class="endnote">

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The West Australian

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